Panel finds no criminal wrongdoing behind JAL's troubles

Singapore
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An external committee appointed to investigate Japan Airlines' (JAL) path to bankruptcy protection says there are no grounds under civil or criminal law to hold former executives responsible for the carrier's fate.

While the Compliance Investigation Committee concluded that there were "problems in managerial judgment and corporate governance", it would be "difficult to find former managers legally liable", says JAL.

The committee, comprising two former judges, two lawyers and an accountant, was established in March to look into the reasons behind JAL's financial troubles. It completed its report on 26 August.

JAL filed for bankruptcy protection in January, and unveiled a financial restructuring plan today.

In its investigation, the committee found various problems in JAL, including "a bloated organization, a weak corporate culture and weak corporate finances, a structure of interdependence with bureaucrats, closed sectionalism, a wide gulf in awareness between corporate planning divisions and on-location staff, lack of responsible initiatives and managerial judgment by top management, and a company-wide lack of risk awareness".

Despite these, the committee says it would be difficult to prosecute former executives under criminal or civil laws.

"In light of these results from the committee, the trustees have determined that no grounds exist to demand compensatory damages from the former managers," says JAL.